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#1339 - 04/19/03 01:34 PM A Cadenza for Caruso
CarusoManiac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/03
Posts: 8
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
I have just "discovered" you through the marvelous keyword search regarding "Caruso" at the Los Angeles Public Library. I am new to your work and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I intend to read the other opera mysteries including the short story collection. I hope you will write more opera mysteries at some point. I suggest using Lauritz Melchior as a subject. Like Caruso, he had a good sense of humour. Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but you have Caruso make a disparaging comment about Wagnerian opera. Did you do this with the knowledge that Caruso sang Lohengrin onstage (albeit before his Metropolitan Opera debut)? In light of this, should i take his comment as ironic, that a good Italian does not listen to Wagner anyway? (see p. 132). I hope I have not been nitpicking. I did enjoy your novel and plan to read the others soon, as I have a lot of downtown this week during theatre rehearsals for a production of Gianni Schicchi in which I am singing Rinuccio. Thank you for the opportunity to contact you. Incidentally, have you read "The Messenger" by Mayra Montero? It is a mystery/romance novel about Caruso in Havana in 1920. If so, would you care to comment on it?

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kevin
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#1340 - 04/19/03 01:36 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
CarusoManiac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/03
Posts: 8
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
I meant "downtime" not "downtown". Sorry for the error.
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#1341 - 04/19/03 02:04 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
Lorna Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Kevin, Barbara will be along to answer your question in a while, I'm sure. She lags a few hours behind the rest of us now that she's moved to the wrong side of the country.

Where is this production of Gianni Schicchi you're singing in?

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#1342 - 04/19/03 07:59 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
Anonymous
Unregistered


As Lorna says, Kevin, the only definitive replies to your questions will be from Barbara herself. Meanwhile, some of the rest of us who hang around in these parts would give our eye-teeth to be capable of singing the part of Rinuccio in GS. Ah, "Firenze come un albero fiorito..."

If you're into musical quizzes, including a certain amount of opera, check out the "Music Music Music" forum on this board, and/or the Musical Jeopardy and MJ2 Archives (bottom right on this page).

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#1343 - 04/19/03 10:30 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
CarusoManiac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/03
Posts: 8
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Thanks for the replies, Lorna and Andrew. I am singing Gianni Schicchi in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California on April 26th and 27th, matinee performances, 2 pm. Yes, the aria is difficult (actually on the light side as I am spinto/dramatic tenor), but I am doing my best. If you are in the L. A. area I hope you can come to see it. The tickets are only $18. I will look at the Music Music Music section when I have some time. Thanks for all the info and timely responses.



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kevin
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#1344 - 04/20/03 02:21 AM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Hello, Kevin -- I'm always happy to meet a new reader, and a singing one at that. Yes, Caruso sang Lohengrin two or three times, a career misstep he backed away from rather quickly. Something like Melchior's few appearances as Otello when he switched from baritone to tenor. But a Heldentenor Caruso was not.

I stopped after the third opera book simply because the research was so time-consuming; it was interfering with that little thing called earning a living. I've always thought I'd like to go back and write three more, but it doesn't look as if that's going to happen. As to Mayra Montero's The Messenger -- alas, I've never heard of it.

So your first Rinuccio is this coming weekend? Kevin, I hope you'll come back and tell us how it went.

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#1345 - 04/21/03 11:53 AM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
CarusoManiac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/03
Posts: 8
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Thank you Ms. Paul for replying so quickly. I am sorry that you will not be getting back to the opera mystery series. I realize that even books that are quick and interesting reads take a lot longer from idea to fruition. That is why children of all ages anxiously await the next Harry Potter book, as I anticipate reading the other books in your series. From what I have read, I agree with you about Caruso having aborted Lohengrin after having sung it during one run in Italian before he got to the Met (Beniamino Gigli had a similar experience with Lohengrin and also did not attempt other Wagner). However, I must respectfully disagree with you about Melchior. Shirlee Emmons, in her (perhaps definitive) authorized biography of Melchior, Tristanissimo! details at length how much Melchior was lauded for his Otellos by those who saw him (and heard his recordings of excerpts) and also how much Melchior wanted to sing Otello, especially at the Met. Giulio Gatti-Casazza and Edward Johnson followed the tradition of separation of German and Italian wings and refused to let him sing Otello over the course of his 24 year Met career (1926-1950), and then Bing basically fired/retired him. He was deprived of the opportunity, but did sing Otello at the San Francisco Opera; whereas, Caruso and Gigli abandoned Lohengrin. giovanni Martinelli had the same problem as Melchior: he had to go elswhere to sing Wagner.

After I have the change to read the Montero novel about Caruso, I would love to discuss it with you if you have the chance to read it. Thank you again for your kindness. I will let you all know about Schicchi in a week's time.

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kevin
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#1346 - 04/22/03 11:10 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
About Melchior -- well, that sounds pretty authoritative. Okay, I'll take your source's word for it. He wanted to, but couldn't.

About Montero -- I don't know, Kevin, I don't think I could buy Caruso as a romantic hero. I'd just as soon skip it.

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#1347 - 04/28/03 06:57 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
ALL of us would like to see another Opera mystery, I think....and another Larch, too.

I THINK I've finally located and read ALL of Barbara's books, and a few short stories I didn't know were out there.

But, then, I'm also not happy that there will be no more Cadfael or Inspector Morse books - the former more so that the latter, because the author is deceased....Dexter's still alive but he killed off Morse.

Of course, that's happened before and the author had second thoughts

With Caruso and company, we already know when they died.

Now, Brab, just KEEP Marian and Holland breathing for us please!
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Kay
Botticelli Moderator

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#1348 - 04/28/03 07:00 PM Re: A Cadenza for Caruso
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
I should have mentioned that Gerry Farrar lived longer than Caruso....and went Hollywood for a while....lots of plot possibilities there
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